According to the National Health Service (NHS) in the United Kingdom, “People with generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) feel anxious most days and often struggle to remember the last time they felt relaxed. As soon as one anxious thought is resolved, another may appear about a different issue.”
Anxiety disorders occur when a person regularly feels disproportionate levels of distress, worry, or fear over an emotional trigger. They are thinking or telling themselves that the worse can happen. Anxiety that is chronic or interferes with a person’s ability to function warrants treatment.
Globally, the World Health Organization (WHO) says that almost 300 million people have an anxiety disorder.
It is normal for everyone to have some degree of anxiety at some points in their lives, such as exams, driving tests, job interviews, etc. This is no cause for any concern as these feelings of anxiety pass once the circumstances change. For some people however these feelings arise for not any particular reason in a way that the individual feels they have no control over their thoughts, worries, feelings and behaviours
You may be diagnosed with generalised anxiety disorder if you have felt anxious for a long time and often feel fearful, but are not anxious about anything in particular or around a wide range of situations or issues. People with GAD feel anxious most of the time and find it difficult to relax. The diagnosis should always be made by a doctor ruling out any organic cause of those symptoms. A client would need to get confirmation from them that it’s safe to use any hypnotherapy techniques or Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT) before starting treatment. It’s worth noting that anxiety can lead to depression and vice versa.
However, many people who experience daily anxiety may not meet the criteria for an anxiety disorder but their lives are still affected by anxious thoughts, feelings and emotions. It will often affect other factors such as work, finances and social interactions. Therefore, the quality of life is often affected quite badly.
Therapy can help a person to understand what triggers their anxiety because no two people are the same neither are their experiences of anxiety. One of the most effective therapies for anxiety is called cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) and Rational Emotive Cognitive Behaviour Hypnotherapy. The goal is to help a person understand how their anxious thoughts affect their emotions and behaviour, to learn what underlying beliefs are triggered in those situations and to replace those reactions with healthy or helpful alternatives. This type of therapy can help with generalized anxiety and anxiety relating to a specific issue.
A common form of anxiety is social anxiety, which affects people more specifically in social situations. It might make someone very self-conscious, perhaps not wanting to eat or drink in front of others, fearing that people are talking about them, or worrying about being lost in a crowd.
There are a few studies that have looked at the link between social media and anxiety. They all revealed that those individuals (both adults and adolescents) who used social media the most, particularly at night-time, had lower self-esteem and higher levels of anxiety and depression. It appears that our self image is constantly being affected by how others perceive us; and it’s a constant battle to achieve this perfect unattainable self-image that we are portraying on social media.
And then we have the news always telling us what is wrong in the world: climate change, a new virus every year, economic inequality, housing crisis, fake news, conspiracies, wars, natural disasters … , the list is endless. Not only that, they are also telling us how we are responsible for all that and how we cannot fix it. And there is always one thing or another that is going on in the news.
The psychiatrist Dr. John S. Price, in his paper on the evolution of social anxiety, writes that “as a practicing clinician, I advise all my anxious patients to avoid watching TV news.” That’s something I strongly advise my anxious clients as well as avoiding social media; I invite the readers to do the same. After a while, check if you feel any different, check how you feel about yourself and the world around you. For more information, please check https://www.anxietyuk.org.uk/